By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes
Long balls from Joe Rapp and Dashenko Ricardo and the strong pitching of Joan Gregorio led the Volcanoes to a 5-3 win July 6 in the last game of the home series with Vancouver before a crowd of 3,320.
Preceding the game was the final night of the patriotic program, which honored many armed service members from the Northwest and including the induction of 11 young people into the Navy. A fireworks display followed the game.
Salem-Keizer led from the third inning on despite a continuing left-on-bases problem and two home runs from a Canadian player, Jason Leblebijian, who had come into the game with no homers for the season.
Gregorio, who continues to hack away at his earned run average after a rough season start and who left the game with an average of 4.39, set down the side in order in the first inning. The Volcanoes threatened in the first, with Brennan Metzger singling, stealing second base and reaching third on an error. Rapp came up with two out and hit a fly to deep right field, but Vancouver’s Carlos Ramirez caught the ball on the warning track.
Leblebijian hit his first of two bases-empty home runs in the second. The Volcanoes tied the score in the second with a solo shot to left field from Ricardo, his first homer of 2012.
After a 1-2-3 Canadians third inning, Matt Duffy doubled to left field, and Chuckie Jones drove him in with a double, giving Salem-Keizer a 3-1 lead.
Duffy hit another double to lead off the Volcanoes fifth, and with one out, Rapp hit his homer over the left field fence for a 5-1 lead. Nick Purdy came in to relieve starting pitcher Eric Brown and retired the next two batters.
After a single by Dan Klein and a double by Ian Parmley in the sixth, pitching coach Jerry
Cram went to the mound to talk with Gregorio. Gregorio struck out the next two batters to retire the side. The Volcanoes left the bases loaded in their half of the sixth.
Keith Bilodeau took the mound for Salem-Keizer in the seventh and yielded Leblebijian’s second homer. Both were opposite-field shots over the right field wall. In the bottom of the seventh, when Drew Permison came in to relieve Purdy, the Volcanoes left the bases loaded for the second straight time.
Tyler Mizenko relieved Bilodeau in the eighth with two on and one out and retired the Canadians.
In the Volcanoes eighth, Chuckie Jones was hit by a pitch and Rapp doubled him home.
Vancouver fought back in the ninth. Ramirez and Klein singled with two out, and Newman drove in Ramirez with a single. However, Mizenko struck out the next batter to end the game.
“We gave up some chances,” Volcanoes manager Tom Trebelhorn said. “We hung on, persevered.”
Gregorio, a Dominican Republic native, was asked how he was improving his game. He said through Ricardo, an interpreter and his catcher, that he felt healthy and felt that he was continuing to improve.
Rapp, who now has four home runs, made a similar comment. He said he was continuing to feel better at the plate after adjusting to a wood bat.
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W – Gregorio (3-1, 4.39). L – Brown (0-4, 8.66). S – Mizenko (4). HR – Vancouver, Leblebijian 2 (2); Salem-Keizer, Ricardo (1), Rapp (4).Print